Mint 18.2: Removing Synaptic???!

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chrisuk
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Re: Mint 18.2: Removing Synaptic???!

Post by chrisuk »

I've used Synaptic for years, but there's no Poll, Clem hasn't asked for opinions, it appears to have been decided.

Synaptic isn't the only reason I prefer Mint over other Distros, it's the complete Mint package that works for me. I have to trust Clem and the other developers to decide what's right for Linux Mint, if any of those decisions make my life/work harder, I'll either adapt and put up with it or switch Distros... chances are I'd return to Mint after a break anyway... I've done it a few times over the years ;)
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Re: Mint 18.2: Removing Synaptic???!

Post by stormryder »

Pjotr wrote:You're being unjust.
Am I now?
Pjotr wrote:you'll always be able to install Synaptic by means of Software Manager
Once its gone there will be no reason to maintain comparability so there won't be much point.
chrisuk wrote:Clem hasn't asked for opinions
And that is the real problem. Clearly a display of superior attitude. We are just proles anyway, our opinions don't matter.
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Re: Mint 18.2: Removing Synaptic???!

Post by Cosmo. »

Hoser Rob wrote:the solution isn't hard ...

Code: Select all

sudo apt-get update

Code: Select all

sudo apt-get install synaptic
If you know enough to want to use synaptic you should know that.
Will this really be the whole truth? I doubt that.
I have already explained, that synaptic in Ubuntu and Mint do differ although the version number does not give any difference. Those differences are partially crucial. I fear that in case, that synaptic gets removed from the default installation, also the actually existing enhancements of synaptic (namely the said filter bar) will no longer get added.

With the hint to apt-get (why so circumstantial, btw? even easier: apt instead of sudo apt-get) somebody can also argue, that any graphical package manager tool can get removed. Continuing this kind of logic throws the system back into the usability of the past. Making Mint better sounds different.

I already said, that the statement, that only a minority of users use synaptic can be doubted; I don't find any prove for that. But without any doubt there are users, who do use synaptic and they do it not, because they want less control, but they do it, because synaptic gives them more control, more information and feedback, is quicker to start (in my virtual system with only 1 CPU far quicker) is more flexible to use. Try to find out, which files are stored in the system on which places by a given package: The software manager is not able (and obviously not designed) to show it. Try to find out, who is the maintainer of a package: The software manager again fails. Try to lock a version of an installed program: Impossible with the software manager. Try to get an overview, which packages are dependent from another package: Again the software manager is at loss. Try to find a history of the installed removed and updated programs: Once more the software manager shows as a cripple. That gives, that removing synaptic would be clear usability regression.

If I would make a guess, what are the programs used by the majority of users there would not be left much: A browser (regardless of the brand), a multimedia-player, a picture viewer and perhaps the text editor. With the "logic" of majority there could get so much programs removed from the default install that it would be nearly senseless to have a menu with different categories and Mint would be at the same level of installed programs as Windows. My expectations for a Linux desktop are different.
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Re: Mint 18.2: Removing Synaptic???!

Post by Jedinovice »

A couple of things, being a little more serious...

Let's give Clem the benefit of the doubt. He's always been good so far and has listened to the users unlike other distro masters. There is, as yet, no explanation given for the decision. There may be very good reason and a road map that we are unaware of! Absence of information leads to panics. I raised this thread in the hopes of a clear explanation but it seems no-one actually knows why Synaptic is (apparently) planned to be dropped in 18.2 So we do not yet have the dev teams word on this.

I grant, in the absence of such, this is very disconcerting (especially, as I say, when I anticipated this and asked for synaptic like functionality in the software manager and was FIRMLY slapped down… grumble, mutter…) but let’s hold for Clem’s input. He has listened to the Mint users and responded to concerns in the past: example, explaining the Y-theme for Cinnamon when that was misunderstood and there was panic for a while.

I have put a post on the XFCE beta release feedback. Off topic, I know, but the only way to reach Clem directly and he has been known to respond to comments on feedback threads like this in the past.

I use humor to keep tempers in check. Let us be measured and focus on the questions and not attack Clem or the team.

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Re: Mint 18.2: Removing Synaptic???!

Post by xenopeek »

Cosmo. wrote:there are differences between the Ubuntu version and the Mint version, namely the quick filter box in the toolbar
That is not a difference in Synaptic. That is just functionality missing because you didn't install the package apt-xapian-index that Synaptic suggests and needs for the quick filter box. The quick filter box in Synaptic appears after doing the following on Ubuntu 16.04:

Code: Select all

sudo apt install apt-xapian-index
sudo update-apt-xapian-index -vf
The only difference I know of in the Linux Mint package for Synaptic is that upgrading is disabled. Anyway, some good news because you have your quick filter back on Ubuntu based distros :wink:

Side note: this is is the most blatant shortcoming of apt; it doesn't note for optional (recommends and suggests) dependencies what they would add to the program if you installed them. It's why I favor pacman as that notes for each optional dependency what it adds to the program.
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Re: Mint 18.2: Removing Synaptic???!

Post by Paladin2019 »

Night Wing wrote: You're a power user and people like me are not. You know the codes for using the terminal where as people like me "do not". .
So why not install it in Software manager?

Most Windows users only use internet explorer once, to find and download a superior alternative, ie. Chrome. This is the exact same thing.
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Re: Mint 18.2: Removing Synaptic???!

Post by Jedinovice »

Paladin2019 wrote:
Night Wing wrote: You're a power user and people like me are not. You know the codes for using the terminal where as people like me "do not". .
So why not install it in Software manager?

Most Windows users only use internet explorer once, to find and download a superior alternative, ie. Chrome. This is the exact same thing.
Reasons already given. :D

It's kinda more to do with the direction of Mint.
Ubuntu takes the "If its the slightest bit complex don't give to them" approach. Ubuntu provides only the base OS and the most commonly used apps; browser, word processor, spreadsheet, media player and file manager. The UI is geared towards the smartphone user and allows for now customisation bar changing the desktop wallpaper.

Virtually any and all configuration, fine tuning or even running an application other than that on the side bar and the user has to drop to the command line.
Of course, the user can install more tools such as synaptic which offer such power but Ubuntu is pretty clear about its philosophy. It is a lightweight distro deliberately dumbed down to appeal to the smartphone masses and anything the slightest bit techie must be handled by an expert from the command line - which makes sense if you want to offer support. It helps to have everything standardized.

Mint, however, is the Ubuntu base with knobs and switches added. It is supposed to be s feature rick install with access to a desktop standard UI, not a smartphone wannbe, and all the basic tools needed for business, productivity and 'it works out of the box' in place.

The removal of Synaptic is the largest removal of functionality that certainly I have ever known with Mint. When Gnome 3'went south' Clem and co. forked Gnome into Cinnamon and Mate just to keep functionality.
This is the first time MAJOR functionality that is used by a fair number of people has been removed from the install and n explanation given.

As I have said, the issue i not synaptic per say - though it could bite ones ass when you have a damaged app install and need to fix it and suddenly you do not have Synaptic and you cannot download because of said install problem... it's more about; "Where is Mint going? Is this heralding a new age of 'Let's remove any and all functionality that might be regarded as tricky?"

That leads back to Ubuntu...
Clarity is needed here. :D
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Re: Mint 18.2: Removing Synaptic???!

Post by Cosmo. »

xenopeek wrote:
Cosmo. wrote:there are differences between the Ubuntu version and the Mint version, namely the quick filter box in the toolbar
That is not a difference in Synaptic. That is just functionality missing because you didn't install the package apt-xapian-index that Synaptic suggests and needs for the quick filter box. The quick filter box in Synaptic appears after doing the following on Ubuntu 16.04:

Code: Select all

sudo apt install apt-xapian-index
sudo update-apt-xapian-index -vf
This obviously reveals, that those advices about simply do apt install synaptic are - hm, let's say incomplete. With your words: "Is that so big a hurdle?": Yes, it is.

Technically it would be possible, to leave any graphical program inclusive the desktop environment out of the default installation and give the advice to the users to run after installation apt install mint-meta-whatever at first. That would reduce the necessity to provide several editions (perhaps with the exception for KDE) and would be near to those suggestions (given the one or other time in the past) to provide only one ISO image per architecture. Not quite as radical as Gentoo, but going in the same direction. It is impossible to imagine, that such a way would be appreciated by more than a tiny minority of Mint users.

The point is, that a right balance of pre-installed and not pre-installed programs and packages has to be found. Removing synaptic would be on the wrong side.
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Re: Mint 18.2: Removing Synaptic???!

Post by Pjotr »

Cosmo. wrote:
xenopeek wrote:
Cosmo. wrote:there are differences between the Ubuntu version and the Mint version, namely the quick filter box in the toolbar
That is not a difference in Synaptic. That is just functionality missing because you didn't install the package apt-xapian-index that Synaptic suggests and needs for the quick filter box. The quick filter box in Synaptic appears after doing the following on Ubuntu 16.04:

Code: Select all

sudo apt install apt-xapian-index
sudo update-apt-xapian-index -vf
This obviously reveals, that those advices about simply do apt install synaptic are - hm, let's say incomplete. With your words: "Is that so big a hurdle?": Yes, it is.
Well, the "quick search" field in Synaptic doesn't work as well as the Search button anyway, so I have no need for apt-xapian-index.... In fact, I always remove apt-xapian-index from my Mint. Standard procedure for me. :mrgreen:
The point is, that a right balance of pre-installed and not pre-installed programs and packages has to be found. Removing synaptic would be on the wrong side.
With that statement I do agree.
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Re: Mint 18.2: Removing Synaptic???!

Post by AhabGreybeard »

I've used Synaptic a few times in the past and found it very useful though I don't count myself as a 'power user', just someone who is fairly technically capable. I noticed something that puzzles me:

If you go into the Software Manager and find Synaptic, you'll notice that removing it will remove many other packages, most of which seem (to my mind) to be unrelated to the funtions of Synaptic and also very important to normal operation.

So, in the interests of 'experimentation' and working with a clone of my main installation (Mint 18.1 MATE 64-bit), I used Software Manager to remove Synaptic.

This resulted in the Software Manager locking up and a reboot gave a very damaged system. If Synaptic is regarded as 'optional', why does this happen?
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Re: Mint 18.2: Removing Synaptic???!

Post by Pjotr »

AhabGreybeard wrote:If you go into the Software Manager and find Synaptic, you'll notice that removing it will remove many other packages, most of which seem (to my mind) to be unrelated to the funtions of Synaptic and also very important to normal operation.

So, in the interests of 'experimentation' and working with a clone of my main installation (Mint 18.1 MATE 64-bit), I used Software Manager to remove Synaptic.

This resulted in the Software Manager locking up and a reboot gave a very damaged system. If Synaptic is regarded as 'optional', why does this happen?
Currently, Synaptic is essential for your system. The roadmap for 18.2 states, that it strives to remove that essentiality (is that a word?), which would technically make removing Synaptic a possibility.
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Re: Mint 18.2: Removing Synaptic???!

Post by Night Wing »

Paladin2019 wrote:
Night Wing wrote: You're a power user and people like me are not. You know the codes for using the terminal where as people like me "do not". .
So why not install it in Software manager?

Most Windows users only use internet explorer once, to find and download a superior alternative, ie. Chrome. This is the exact same thing.
I used the Software Manager when I first started with Mint 14. Since I was coming over from Windows 7, I needed at that time a Windows only browser named Pale Moon (and now Pale Moon has a linux version, but not at that of Mint 14). From the Software Manager I installed Wine to use Windows Pale Moon. Eventually, something happened with Wine and I had to use the Software Manager to uninstall Wine. But Wine didn't uninstall completely and caused me a big problem. I had to come to the Mint forums and found out through a search the only way to completely repair the damage and remove Wine completely was to use the Mint terminal. Using the terminal was not a pleasant experience for me since some of the commands provided by other people did not work because they weren't the proper commands. Miss a space or not use a capital letter in the code and the output from the terminal gave me an error code.

I eventually found the "correct" coding, but using the terminal gave me nothing but frustration and aggravation. This bad experience is the reason why I have NEVER use the Software Manger to uninstall any application. I use the Synaptic Package Manager because it uninstalls applications "cleanly" where I don't have to use the terminal. Using the terminal for me is a "pita" and this is why I avoid the terminal at all costs.

Since I'm a non technical Mint user, I may be wrong with my next statement, but I'm "guessing" Synaptic Package Manager just might the graphical ui which does the same thing as the terminal. But even if it isn't. For people like me who are not power users, using the Synaptic Package Manager is a lot easier than using the Mint terminal.

As an example, I install the Teamviewer application using the GDebi Package Installer because Teamviewer is not in the Software Manager. To uninstall Teamviewer (for a newer version), I use the Synaptic Package Manager to uninstall Teamviewer. By uninstalling Teamviewer using Synaptic, this keeps me away from the Mint terminal because I don't want any more aggravation and frustration from the terminal. Now if some developer wants to completely remove GDebi from Mint where it isn't offered in the Software Manager, then I would be forced to use the Mint terminal to install Teamviewer and that would be not to my liking.

Sometimes very smart people show a lack of common sense when looking at the big picture for all of their users. Case in point, the forced automatic updates Microsoft made and implemented for Windows 10 Home. There are other reasons why I immensely dislike Windows 10 which I won't go into; but with decisions like this from Microsoft, this is why "I wouldn't touch Windows 10 with a 100 foot pole". I don't want the Mint developers going down the same road that Microsoft is going down now if you get my drift. The Synaptic Package Manager is a very powerful tool, but it's also "very easy" for people like me which having had bad experiences using the Mint terminal in the past, are now "gunshy" of the terminal.

I could add that Ubuntu was the number one distro on Distrowatchfor a very long time, but then someone over at Ubuntu decided to change the desktop and go with a new desktop named Unity. Many Ubuntu users didn't like the change and now Ubuntu sits at number three over at Distrowatch and Unity is probably, in my opinion, the main reason why many Ubuntu users are no longer using Ubuntu and have gravitated towards Mint and other distros which do not have the Unity like desktop.

In closing, some developers make decisions which for them doesn't seem like a big deal, but their users have the opposite opinion where the decisions the developers made and which aren't liked, turn into a big deal and Ubuntu found that out with Unity.
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Re: Mint 18.2: Removing Synaptic???!

Post by Paladin2019 »

Night Wing wrote:
Paladin2019 wrote:
Night Wing wrote: You're a power user and people like me are not. You know the codes for using the terminal where as people like me "do not". .
So why not install it in Software manager?

Most Windows users only use internet explorer once, to find and download a superior alternative, ie. Chrome. This is the exact same thing.
I used the Software Manager when I first started with Mint 14....

But you didn't answer the question. Just like using Internet Explorer to download chrome, you'd only have to get your hands dirty once and from then on you can use the alternative forever. Why not just install Synaptic from software manager and then once it's there forget that software manager exists?

I know you don't consider yourself a power user, but you know your way around the OS well enough to actually use synaptic (I've tried it and find it impenetrable), and as such your aversion to the terminal and a continuing avoidance of a core application that bugged out on you once years ago seems a bit odd.
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Re: Mint 18.2: Removing Synaptic???!

Post by stormryder »

Jedinovice wrote:Let's give Clem the benefit of the doubt. He's always been good so far and has listened to the users unlike other distro masters. There is, as yet, no explanation given for the decision.
Clem made a conscious choice not to open any kind of discussion about this. Did he really expect this to be well received? As a professional I have an obligation to give my customers what they want even if it doesn't make much sense. If I can't do something I do my best to explain why I can't. I won't apologize for expecting the same professional courtesy from others.
xenopeek wrote: That is not a difference in Synaptic. That is just functionality missing because you didn't install the package apt-xapian-index that Synaptic suggests and needs for the quick filter box. The quick filter box in Synaptic appears after doing the following on Ubuntu 16.04:

Code: Select all

sudo apt install apt-xapian-index

Code: Select all

sudo update-apt-xapian-index -vf
Is the software manager smart enough to install that for me? When looking at synaptic the software manager on my installation I see no suggestion about adding any extra indexes in order to obtain full functionality.
Paladin2019 wrote:Just like using Internet Explorer to download chrome, you'd only have to get your hands dirty once and from then on you can use the alternative forever.
I thought linux was 'not like windows' besides with no dependency upon synaptic you can't guarantee it will work at all, let alone "forever".
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Re: Mint 18.2: Removing Synaptic???!

Post by Jedinovice »

Paladin2019 wrote:
Night Wing wrote:
Paladin2019 wrote:
So why not install it in Software manager?

Most Windows users only use internet explorer once, to find and download a superior alternative, ie. Chrome. This is the exact same thing.
I used the Software Manager when I first started with Mint 14....

But you didn't answer the question. Just like using Internet Explorer to download chrome, you'd only have to get your hands dirty once and from then on you can use the alternative forever. Why not just install Synaptic from software manager and then once it's there forget that software manager exists?

I know you don't consider yourself a power user, but you know your way around the OS well enough to actually use synaptic (I've tried it and find it impenetrable), and as such your aversion to the terminal and a continuing avoidance of a core application that bugged out on you once years ago seems a bit odd.
I will answer here. IN brief - this has been discussed already, mind...

1) We know we can install it via package manager - that's not the issue!
2) It's too late to install from the software manager when you have dependency conflict and you do not have Synaptic on board! Then it's terminal or nothing which is not a good advert for Mint.
3) It sets a bad precident. For the first time that I aware of Mint is removing functionality from the OS install. (I note with interest that there was a plan to remove GIMP in favor of Pinta a while back which would also have removed functionality - those it's would be less technically troublesome but it seems to have abandoned.) The arguments for removing Synaptic - in the absence of any reasoning from the dev team at this time - seem to amount to no more think "It's too difficult for the average user." Which is the same logic applied to ChromeOS, Ubuntu/Unity, Windows 8, Gnome 3 and all other other OS's and UI's that have gone the "nobody uses a computer anymore, just a smartphone or tablet" route. Mint does not want to go there! Virtually any and all software installed with the Mint OS could be thrown on the same basis. Heck, the whole of KDE could be thrown on the case of "It's too difficult for the average user, it's too configurable, Cinnamon can do the same thing, you can always install it from the software manager."

Adding functionality requires justification in an OS but so does removing it. There does not appear to be any good reason for removing Synaptic other than "It's too techie for you dear so we'll get rid of it for you."
Which can then be applied to 50% of the apps/utilities in Mint.

Bad direction. Needs justification.
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Re: Mint 18.2: Removing Synaptic???!

Post by Jedinovice »

stormryder wrote:
Jedinovice wrote:Let's give Clem the benefit of the doubt. He's always been good so far and has listened to the users unlike other distro masters. There is, as yet, no explanation given for the decision.
Clem made a conscious choice not to open any kind of discussion about this. Did he really expect this to be well received? As a professional I have an obligation to give my customers what they want even if it doesn't make much sense. If I can't do something I do my best to explain why I can't. I won't apologize for expecting the same professional courtesy from others.

Well, let's be fair. Normally Clem is just and reasonable. He does not and cannot discuss every decision the Dev team will make with the users. The OS would NEVER develop! But he tends to step in when there is confusion and outcry - as in the case of the Mint-y themes originally.

I am saying, let us NOT attack those who supply the OS. That is biting the hand that feed you, in a way. I have asked Clem to explain. I am sure he will be sensible. He does tend to be,

As I say, there was a lan to remove GIMP from the Mint install and replace it with the simpler 'Pintu' which actually went down well with the users! I use GIMP but shrugged figuring, on that on, I could install from, er, synaptic. But, lo and behold, GIMP is still the default image editing software in the install! So that decision to remove functionality was reversed.

I am guessing the dev team are assuming that synaptic just is not used! Remember that from a technical point of view Synaptic only remains in the install as a dependency for the software manager. The team want to cut that tie.

I figure - don;t - keep Synaptic, keep the dependency and move onto other things!! But even if they do cut ties, it is clear that Synaptic IS used by Mint users in a way that the Dev Team does not know about.

I am hoping this thread gets their attention...

But let us assume good will here. Clem does not have to discuss any decision with the users. He is remarkably good at doing that and that is hat sets Mint apart from other Top Down distros in that he does listen to his users... but he does not have to run any and all decisions by the users. Nothing would get done then.

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Clem is a reasonable guy. I do not think he realizes just how important synaptic is to as many people as it is. Give him time. :D

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Re: Mint 18.2: Removing Synaptic???!

Post by altair4 »

3) It sets a bad precident. For the first time that I aware of Mint is removing functionality from the OS install.
Second if you include samba.
Adding functionality requires justification in an OS but so does removing it.
Neither one of those actions require justification. This is not a democracy.
Please add a [SOLVED] at the end of your original subject header if your question has been answered and solved.
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Re: Mint 18.2: Removing Synaptic???!

Post by Cosmo. »

Some more thoughts about the doubtful minority / majority argumentation:

If somebody really thinks, that arguing with numbers like that is meaningful, than open the software manager and do a search for Software Manager and Synaptic. This does provide 2 numbers:

The number of users, who commented about Software Manager is 110, the number for Synaptic is 154. I personally would not even draw out of those numbers the conclusion, that a majority uses Synaptic, but surely the opposite cannot get founded with those numbers.

Next you see the given points: 33 for the Software Manager, 264 for Synaptic. This commenting system is not my invention and I do in general not care about it. But it is provided by the Mint makers and the existing values say clearly, that the commenting users judged Synaptic about 8 times better than the Software Manager. So obviously by just reading those values, which are readable for everybody, the idea to drop Synaptic means to remove the far better package management GUI. The difference between those 2 are highly significant!

A little maths gives some more: If you divide the points by the number of comments you find, that in the average every commenting user evaluated the Software Manager with 0.3 points, but Synaptic got in the average 1.7 points. It can - if numbers really are, what counts - not more clearly be pointed out, that a far inferior software shall stay and the far superior software get removed. - Note: If you look through the list of recommended packages in the Software Manager, than you will find, that there is not a single one with a higher average value than 1.7 (rounded to the first digit after the decimal point). Synaptic is judged by the community as one of the very best! In other words: It is part of the crown jewels.

To prevent for getting misinterpreted in the future: I don't give anything for those commenting thing and those numbers are not my way of arguing. But as the majority / minority "argument" has been given, those numbers have the advantage, that they are at least re-readable by everybody. At least it makes clear, that Synaptic is not only some piece of binaries, which lay dead on the drive and nobody uses them; definitely this is not the case.

Above that, one should especially in the Linux world be very careful with numbering and majority arguments. In fact the majority of users don't use the software manager and don't use Synaptic. The majority don't use Linux at all, but they use Windows. So if I would take this majority argumentation serious, I would not use any Linux distro. That Windows makes the far superior majority of installed systems is not new to me (or to anybody); I decided nonetheless to use Linux, because it is the better system. And even in the case, that anybody would (near to impossible) give a prove, that the Synaptic users are a minority I would decide for the better software. Dropping the better software is a regression. Content beats numbers.
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Re: Mint 18.2: Removing Synaptic???!

Post by Cosmo. »

altair4 wrote:
3) It sets a bad precident. For the first time that I aware of Mint is removing functionality from the OS install.
Second if you include samba.
Seconded also with this addition. And there are more examples for that in 18.1. So pitifully it is not the first time.
altair4 wrote:
Adding functionality requires justification in an OS but so does removing it.
Neither one of those actions require justification. This is not a democracy.
Perhaps the meaning of community has to get newly defined? That again is a matter of communication.
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Re: Mint 18.2: Removing Synaptic???!

Post by chrisuk »

Cosmo. wrote:[...]
Perhaps the meaning of community has to get newly defined?
Not really, it's well enough defined/understood already
Community:
the condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common
Whereas Democracy:
a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.
Linux Mint has never been a Democracy ;)
Last edited by chrisuk on Sun Jan 08, 2017 4:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Chris

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